Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Strengths Trap?

In a recent article in the Washington Post, John Rosemond illustrates clearly a concern that often gets expressed when we work with people on developing their confidence and begin by highlighting strengths – how can I take this seriously when all my life I have been ‘taught’ to deal only with my weaknesses? Although Rosemond refers specifically to how we as parents deal with our children in a realistic manner when the overwhelming message is that we need to be encouraging and emphasise the positive; the same applies in business. It’s all very well to switch the emphasis away from shortcomings to strengths in the annual performance review, but this switch needs to include a realistic appraisal of strengths that includes a detailed review of personal achievements and, preferably, some feedback from those who work closely with the employee in question. To do anything less would surely be to fall into precisely the same trap that Rosemond highlights, wouldn’t it?

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